Perley planned to attend college and was accepted into the GM Institute engineering program. However, a family friend was an electrician, and the technical challenge of the work appealed to him. Rather than join the GM Institute, Perley began his career as an apprentice electrician at Thompson Electric in 1976. After a brief stint as a journeyman, he worked in every management role at the company and was named President/CEO in 1998.
Perley says his proudest achievement is “developing a team of leaders capable of guiding Thompson long after I’m gone. As exciting as it is to build or fix some system, it is much more rewarding to build a team of talented individuals.” The team was largely built by giving talented people different opportunities to learn, succeed and at times, fail. Perley is also proud of his work in the community and has served on many non-profit boards as well as national industry groups.
Perley has been married to his wife Cathy for 32 years. Both Cathy and Skip are involved in the community through various non-profit boards. His company has a strong commitment to community service and encourages Thompson employees to get involved with local non-profit organizations as part of their leadership training.